Blogs from Netherlands, Europe - page 2

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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam May 10th 2015

Sunny skies and cool weather are perfect for sightseeing anywhere, but you just don't get them that often in this part of Europe. Fortunately for us, and for all the locals who were off on this Sunday, it could not have been nicer! I had been here on business before, but this was Bowen's first trip, so we made sure to give him the grand overview, beginning with a 2-hr canal cruise around the major canals. There are LOTS of these canal boats, but those designed for tourists do a good job giving you the highlights and some important history. They also do a great job orienting you to the layout of the city, which is built around the canals not streets. Three things you learn quickly: 1) while canals are laid out in an orderly ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » South Holland » Lisse May 10th 2015

We set our alarms for 8 AM. We packed up, showered, ate breakfast with our hosts and headed out. We ended up paying only 5 Euros for parking which was a small victory. We asked for directions to Amsterdam since we no longer trusted Tomtom. We finally started listening to Tomtom after we got on the highway and drove for 45 min to Keukenhof, the famous tulip garden park of the Netherlands. This park is only open for a month and a half throughout the whole year, when the tulips are in full bloom from April to mid May. Tomtom tried to thwart our plans again when we got to the town of Lisse but we were able to navigate with the road signs and follow the rest of the tourists to successfully locate Keukenhof. We ... read more
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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam May 9th 2015

The disembarkation day on a ship is usually another "hurry up and wait" kind of day. Since the ships board new passengers the same day that we get off, they are eager to get you out of your cabin as quickly as possible (hurry up). That doesn't necessarily mean that you'll get off the ship quickly. You're usually assigned to a "holding" area until it's your turn to get off (wait). That's what we were expecting this time as well. However, we left our cabin at 8am and headed to our holding area, waited only a few minutes to disembark, picked up luggage, boarded our transfer bus, and quickly headed off to London Heathrow. It was the fastest and easiest disembarkation we've experienced. Once we got to the airport, there was some waiting, but that's always ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » South Holland » The Hague May 8th 2015

And so it begins. We left Lise's parents house at 9:15 AM. We drove to Antwerpen, where we got lost and never found what we were looking for. Driving in European cities is not an easy task. After spending about an hour being lost in Antwerpen, we finally found our way out and continued our journey to The Hague, Netherlands. We stopped in Breda, Netherlands for lunch on our way there. Breda is the first city on the border of The Netherlands when coming from the south. This makes it a popular city to visit for people that want to buy things that are only legal in the Netherlands (if you know what I mean). A good analogy would be driving to South Carolina from North Carolina to buy fireworks. We stopped at a service station ... read more
Escher-esque selfie
Liberation Day Festival
Madurodam Castle

Europe » Netherlands May 7th 2015

My time in Amsterdam was short, but just enough to get a feel for the city. I stayed in a hostel in the middle of the red light district - it's so entertaining to be surrounded by what is normally considered taboo! But Amsterdam has a lot more to offer than just the red light district. It is a very charming city full of people, canals, boats, bikes, and crooked buildings. It's a very lively and fun city with a buzz that just can't be captured in pictures. The highlights of my stay were: A canal tour on a little boat. Exploring the outer edges of the city on bike. Girls in windows! And in the alleyway with the bigger girls, they were actually eating their dinner in the window haha. ... read more
Exploring on bike
Night
Dildos everywhere!

Europe » Netherlands April 30th 2015

23rd April Amsterdam to Enkhuizen Took advantage of the good weather and instead of stopping at a couple of places we originally planned to, did a longer passage. We know the weather is going to get nasty in a couple of days so we’ve decided to get up to Den Helder faster now so that we’re there settled ready to cross the North Sea when the weather settles. Liked the look of the little village Enkhuizen, would be happy to come back here and spend longer another time. 24th April Enkhuizen to Den Helder Sailing in the IJsselmeer. Had some good wind, didn’t have the battons in the main, so just sailed on the heady and made good time. Once through the last sluice, just motored and followed the weaving channel into Den Helder. 25th April ... read more
Shopping on our bikes
Firing the guns for Kings Day
Our new fold up bikes

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 30th 2015

Hi Everyone, Some backstory: The Dutch are usually a pretty straightforward people, with direct mannerisms and simple tastes. Milk is their favourite drink. Toast with sprinkles is their breakfast of choice. I don't think I've ever seen a dutch restaurant - they import their flavours. One weekend a year though, the nation turns orange and everyone goes a little nuts: King's Day - the King's birthday. It's their version of Oktoberfest in Germany, of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, of Carnival in Rio. This past Monday was Kingsday, so I spent the weekend in the Netherlands. Saturday was touring Gouda for visiting with friends. Sunday was in the Hague for King's night (the pre-celebration). Monday was in Amsterdam for the big event. I don't have many photos(a.k.a. evidence) this time, but I can assure you we ... read more
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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 25th 2015

We headed from St Goar and made a stop in a small town called Edam where we went for a bike ride and saw them replacing the hay on the roof of the windmill - which only gets down every 50 years. Afterwards we stopped at a clog and cheese shop and were given a demonstration of how they make wooden clogs and how they make the cheese. We were then able to sample about 15 different cheeses and some raspberry wine. I really liked the smoked ham cheese but the cheese was going to expire before I got home and I didn't think I could eat the whole thing before I left. We also got to sample these wafer biscuits with caramel in them which are delicious. Another hour or so of driving and we ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » Zealand April 24th 2015

Day 10 April 24 - Veere, Zealand, Netherlands We arrived in Veere and after breakfast, we chose to skip the tour of the delta works and go inside one of the many dams they have protecting the land from the North Sea. Instead we walked into this small, sparsely inhabited town of only 500 that has been in existence since 1281. What a treat we were in for. We absolutely fell in love with this town. So clean and charming. There were docks on both sides of the town with beautiful yachts and sail boats. A huge church that was built centuries ago and not is an event center. We stopped at an outdoor cafe in the town center square and enjoyed hot chocolate with a large bowl of fresh whipped cream. We also ordered apple ... read more
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Europe » Netherlands » South Holland » Rotterdam April 23rd 2015

Day 9 - April 23 - Rotterdam, Netherlands Today we we had breakfast and were ready to head out for a big day of adventures. We boarded a tour bus with our guide today, Miriam and driver Petro and we took a tour around the old town of Rotterdam. This is a huge city and a bigger port. This port is actually the largest port in Europe. The second largest port in the world only to Singapore. The city were bombed a lot during WWIl and what was rebuilt was modern structures. Next we drove to the town of Delft where we were toured the famous porcelain factory. We learned how they identify their completely hand painted items from the fakes. This was very interesting tour and the building itself was just beautiful with ceramic stair ... read more
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